Wisconsin Voters Ban ‘Zuckbucks’-Style Funding and Staff from Elections

by | Apr 3, 2024

On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters endorsed two constitutional amendment proposals aimed at barring the use of private funds to conduct elections and stipulating that only legally designated government officials can oversee elections. With this decision, Wisconsin becomes the 28th state to prohibit “Zuckbucks”-style electioneering and the second state to do so through a constitutional amendment.

According to preliminary results, Question 1 is forecasted to be successful. This amendment mandates that “private donations and grants may not be applied for, accepted, expended, or used in connection with the conduct of any primary, election, or referendum.” Similarly, Question 2, which mandates that “only election officials designated by law may perform tasks in the conduct of primaries, elections, and referendums,” has also been approved by voters.

In the 2020 election cycle, nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) received significant sums of money from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. These funds, colloquially referred to as “Zuckbucks,” were injected into local election offices in key battleground states across the nation with the aim of altering how elections were conducted.

Among other initiatives, these funds were utilized to support the expansion of unsupervised election protocols, including mail-in voting and ballot drop boxes. The distribution of these grants was heavily weighted towards counties with Democratic majorities, effectively transforming it into a substantial, privately funded Democratic get-out-the-vote campaign.

In the run-up to the 2020 election, Wisconsin reportedly received approximately $10.1 million in “Zuckbucks” from CTCL. These funds were distributed in the form of 31 grants to cities and townships across the state, each exceeding the $5,000 minimum threshold. Among these grants, 28 were awarded to cities, with eight of them won by Trump and 20 ‘won’ by Biden.

While the implementation of the “Zuckbucks” ban is a positive step forward, its impact on localities that have already accepted private election grants prior to the 2024 election remains uncertain.

Recently, it came to light that the city of Milwaukee, which is predominantly Democratic and situated in a county where Joe Biden purportedly won by a margin of nearly 40 points in the 2020 election, received a grant of nearly $800,000 from Cities Forward. This left-wing nonprofit has ties to the Democratic Party's dark money network.

Cities Forward previously received funding from the Open Society Foundations, an organization established by leftist billionaire George Soros, when it was an initiative of the left-wing New Venture Fund.

Source: The Federalist

 

 

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